O-Okay

O-Okay

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O-Okay

Post by Avery Bishop on Tue Jan 17, 2017 5:53 pm

"I'm sorry?"

Keiran stared at the blonde as she pulled her red jacket on, and could think of little else to say as he handed Sophia the color she wanted. He had bought her a coloring book full of magical creatures like the dragons Avery worked to protect, and she seemed perfectly content to spend the day on it. The thing was, he had only just found out the real reason why the smaller blonde was staying with him that afternoon.

"Your floo, Keiran. I need to use it. I can't apparate out like you can, and I refuse to be late. So, please."

"But-- you're meeting.. Teddy?"

Avery turned to him, exasperated now, her head tilted back until she could level him with a disapproving expression. Sophia glanced up at Keiran as if to inform him that he was really in trouble now. He looked between the pair of them, mainly just confused.

"What?" She snapped, staring down at him in his spot on the couch. "I'm not allowed to be friends with him because he works for you? I offered to talk to him about his family. The same as talking to you about Dad. Or about Mathias. Don't go mad over this."

"Avery," Keiran cut in, his voice low and serious - almost a warning. "Avery, I'm not blind. I may not know him, but I know you. And something happened yesterday."

"You're wrong. Nothing happened. Now help me out and let me leave."

So she appeared in The Leaky, frustrated but determined to shake off Keiran's prodding. The problem wasn't that he was wrong, actually. In fact, it was that Teddy said yes when she was mental enough to ask so bluntly, but he thought they were going to talk about serious topics that Avery avoided so strictly. She just had to remind herself to keep the focus on him, rather than her. It was incredibly easy for a woman like Avery to fall back into personal stories that she thought would make the other person feel better. It wouldn't help, and it would just make the other person feel bad for her. She knew as much from experience, clearly. That wasn't her goal.

She just wanted... Well, she wanted to help, and she wanted him to like her. She didn't have nearly as many people to spend time with as she used to, and she-- she liked him, she thought. It was rather hard to tell. How well could she like someone who she'd nearly killed and who always seemed embarrassed by her when anybody else showed up?

The coffee shop was public, though Muggle-owned. It was a start, perhaps.

Leaving the Leaky, Avery stepped into Muggle London and took a left. Her hands dipped into the leather jacket that Robin had bought her for Christmas that awful year, hoping it would give her some level of confidence that she'd had upon meeting the Ivanov. Not that she needed it, though, right?

Then again, those last moments had been something else entirely. Avery had no inkling about what had actually happened, and would never be able to ask him his opinion on it.

She did know one thing, though: Her stomach had turned over in the moment, and every time she thought about it, the same thing happened again. Oh, Merlin.

Pushing that aside, she hurried into the shop, placing an order before looking around for a table and to see if he had arrived. With the pair of them, awkwardness was a certainty. There was no need to wait and let him wonder in any way whether or not he was expected to buy her a coffee, even if she was sort of supposed to be helping him. Besides, she wouldn't have really wanted him to either way. Safer all around, then, to skip the uncomfortable glances and shuffling.

Thus, she stood off to the side, waiting for her drink to be made and passed over the counter. Being early seemed to have its privileges, as she was given a moment to calm her temper and really look around, both for a table and for the glasses that never seemed to stay where they ought to.

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Re: O-Okay

Post by Teddy R. Lupin on Wed Jan 18, 2017 11:21 pm

Teddy didn't want to be late. He knew his luck well enough to know that if he left just on time, something was going to intervene and make him late.  Avery had already sounded unconvinced as to whether or not he would be there so he didn't want to give her any real reason to worry about him showing up. To combat this, he had arrived early, having pulled on his nicest jacket to fight the cold, a plaid button up beneath, and ordered a hot tea. He liked the little shop. It was cozy and friendly and had a welcoming atmosphere.

By his second refill, however, Teddy was feeling a little out of place. He had to admit that he had maybe arrived a tad too early. He checked his watch and found he was way tooooo early. He glanced around, as though everyone around him could see his foolishness, and found himself on the edge of a decision he just couldn’t make. It’s not like Avery would know he had been there so long, or like anyone here would tell on him. And surely it would look worse to leave and come back closer to when Avery had invited him? But he was just sitting around… looking like an idiot.

So he decided to leave. He figured he would take a quick stroll and then come back, order a pastry and a coffee-

He reached the door and could see Avery about to come in.

So he whipped around on his heel and hurried back to his chair, suddenly realizing he was without a drink. Oh, shoot. Everything was falling apart.

He quickly jumped into line, thankful that another patron was quick to follow, and another after that, putting distance between himself and the blonde who had just stepped through the doors. He reordered his tea, ignoring the barista’s strange look, and hurried back to his table, trying not to look too nervous.

It was then that his eyes met hers, once she had paid. And Merlin must have blessed him because he even managed to almost look casual as he put a hand up and gave a little wave.
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Re: O-Okay

Post by Avery Bishop on Thu Jan 19, 2017 5:29 pm

It was definitely her frustration with Keiran that kept her from noticing Teddy's frantic movements around the shop, but when she turned around she discovered that he was already there. In her head it was more like 'He's already here!' - exclamation point included.

She didn't manage to play it as cool as he did. She saw him just as the barista pushed a drink over the counter and tried to get her attention, the smile only forming halfway before it was torn away by surprise. Calming herself back down as she took her cup, Avery rolled her shoulders back beneath the jacket before turning towards Teddy again.

Both hands wrapped around the cup as she walked over, unsure if she should offer a hand, or nothing, or something even more friendly. Instead, she made her way over and lingered for a few moments as she greeted him, figuring he would either stay put or initiate something. What did you do to greet someone you basically didn't know and who you'd offered to chat with about loss of family? Nothing felt right, no matter how she phrased it in her head.

"Hi," she offered alongside a shy smile. "I, um- I'm sorry I sprung the invitation on you like that yesterday. It just seemed.. easier than trying the letter thing again."

Setting the coffee cup down, Avery took off her jacket and draped it over the back of the chair opposite Teddy's. "I should've asked if you were even busy today. So, let me know if you need to take off at some point."
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Re: O-Okay

Post by Teddy R. Lupin on Mon Jan 23, 2017 5:30 am

He had hoped that he would settle down into a sense of comfort once he saw her, once he realized they were both mutually interested in seeing each other again. However, her approach suddenly caused another horrifying moment of indecision - how was he supposed to greet her? Stand? Shake her hand? A hug? No. A hug was too forward. Wasn't it? Merlin, when was the last time he had hugged someone-

She was dangerously close, so without spending another moment of despairing over his actions, he stumbled to his feet, trying to look like he wasn't a nervous wreck. "Avery!"

A little too loud there, buddy.

She greeted him and he waved a hand in dismissal. "No, don't worry at all. I really appreciate it." He gestured towards the chair and she set her jacket down, and the pair of them settled into their seats. "No, I'm free. In fact, it's great to get out of the castle. You start to forget there's even a world outside those walls after awhile. Even this soon after the holidays."

That was when the barista swung by to deliver his tea. Teddy felt like it was a revealing move, and felt compelled to explain, "Second cup. I was so excited to get away from grading I got here a tad early."

Yes. Grading. That was why.
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Re: O-Okay

Post by Avery Bishop on Tue Jan 24, 2017 4:35 am

A surprised grin broke out on Avery's face when he greeted her so eagerly. Her fears, it seemed, had been for nothing. That thought was excessively pleasant, and allowed her to sit down and relax into her chair. It probably would have helped if the next thing out of his mouth hadn't been about wanting to escape something rather than wishing to see her.

But what could she reasonably hope for? Not that a man like Teddy would actively seek her out. He was preoccupied in a manner so similar to Keiran's attitude, she truly couldn't be surprised that they knew each other.

And besides, if he had come to speak about his past, certainly he wouldn't have jumped at the opportunity, even if he had claimed otherwise. She certainly wasn't eager to rehash her own problems. And, equally, she didn't have the foggiest idea how to ask about his. So perhaps smalltalk was best, to start.

"I can hardly imagine," she offered, tone bright despite the conflict lingering within her thoughts. "But I guess I could see how even a place as big as Hogwarts could seem small after a while."

Glancing back over at the counter, Avery caught the barista speaking to one of her co-workers and then looking over at the pair of them. The other woman blanched, turning away. Making fun, perhaps. The pair of them were nothing if not awkward, and as she turned back to look at him, a sense of blooming disappointment made itself known within her stomach. What an absolute fool she'd been for wondering-

Oh, but what did it matter? They both had so much baggage that it was utterly improbable that any quiet wondering in the back of her mind could turn out to be right. So within a breath, and before the realization could fully show itself on her face, Avery was back to business.

"I just realized. I never even asked you what class you teach! Do you like it? Being around the students and everything, I mean."
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Re: O-Okay

Post by Teddy R. Lupin on Wed Jan 25, 2017 6:21 am

Teddy found himself, once again, somehow amazed at her smile, and he still couldn't figure out what it was. Something told him she hadn't been smiling much recently. He had Albus' penchant for observation but was far less aware of it, less able to pinpoint where his intuitive leaps gathered their evidence. Despite his somehow certain feeling that smiling was new to her, he sensed that this wasn't always the case, that she used to smile quite a lot and something had changed, had robbed her of that. He couldn't think of what could have done it, but he knew well enough that this world had troubles big enough to rob even the bravest smile.

But that wasn't what struck him about her smile. Certainly, that was a big part of it. But the fact that her face could go from something somewhat lined with worry or uncertainty to completely smoothed over with a wide, genuine smile... There was something to that quality that Teddy deeply admired. Maybe because he never felt certain in any of his emotions, that he could barely rouse himself out of his overly-critical thought process to grace anyone with a real Teddy smile...

He had to spend some of this get together actually talking to her, rather than to himself about her.

"Small enough that you're always getting tracked down for new projects," he said, offering a bit of a lopsided smile, before realizing, and quickly scurrying to say, "Not from Keiran, mind. No, Keiran's great about laying off the professors when we need it. But there's always someone in Hogwarts who seems ready to take up your time." Lately, it had been Selwyn, who had turned Teddy into his own person therapist. Which was just great, considering Teddy had quit the field to pursue teaching.

Avery suddenly brought up a question that made Teddy realize how little the two actually knew about each other, and yet here they were, making a real effort to change that. It was refreshing - meeting someone who wasn't ashamed or embarrassed to actually invest in another person. That wasn't a common trait in the Potters. "I teach curative magic. I dunno, I feel like these kids are getting more and more vulnerable to the outside world, and if I can't teach them how to defend themselves, I can at least teach them to heal themselves. We often have to rely on ourselves for that as it is."

...Okay, weirdo. Let's tone down the angst, shall we?

He shook his head. "It's hard work. But it's pretty rewarding. I'm really pleased with it." He took a sip of his tea, but swallowed it down quickly, finding himself eager to ask her the same. "What about you? I mean, what do you do? Besides making sure Keiran stays all together." He grinned.
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Re: O-Okay

Post by Avery Bishop on Wed Jan 25, 2017 7:21 am

Unconsciously, Avery tilted her head when he smiled, almost mirroring the angle it took on. But she had to laugh a little at his immediate attempt to correct himself. For all he knew, Avery would've gone and told on him. And really, she wasn't sure if she wouldn't, either. After all, her loyalty hadn't shifted, despite her curiosity in the other professor. But his answer was a fair one nonetheless. She had only just started to wish for something more out of her own job, so although she knew she would agree in the future, she was almost jealous.

Perhaps, though, Teddy just had miraculous timing. He missed her distraction, her temporary panic. But he also managed to bring back a more mild form of it by asking about her job. Fergus came to mind immediately, and while that wasn't what one would expect to be a bad thing, recent events suggested otherwise. And this was after she already had to fight off the sad pull on her features when he spoke so genuinely.

But he looked so pleased to be talking about it that she couldn't let herself ruin things.

"Um, I work at the Ministry." Brilliant start. She glanced down at her cup for a moment before going on and trying to reflect how casual and rather confident he seemed. "Whenever my department hears about a dragon on the loose - you know, in trouble, causing a mess, scaring Muggles - I'm the person that does the paperwork and calls in a handler to bring them in. For the safety of the Muggles, but for the dragon, too. Usually they seem so frightened, it's impossible not to feel for them.

"I don't know how well I like it. But... it's all I've ever done, really. And up until very recently, I thought it was great. I just," she faltered, running a finger around the rim of her cup, "I think I want to do more than just paperwork. So I got a friend who said he would help me train up this dragon I sort of own, so that I can consider maybe doing a bit of that work as well."

She shrugged a little, turning her chin so the hair over one shoulder would fall over her back instead. It helped keep the curls out of her drink when she lifted it up to take a sip. Still absurdly hot, of course, but not so dreadful that it would burn her tongue, thankfully. Avery put it back down, though, just in case.

"It sounds a bit mad, I think. Compared to teaching, that is. My, -um. My friend, he thought it was brilliant, since he loved dragons, but I think he also thought I was a little crazy. And I'm starting to think he's right."

Her laugh, that time, was definitely half-hearted. She managed to keep it from sounding sad or self-depricating, but it was certainly not as full as her laughter had been the day before. It was something, though, given what she had nearly brought up. And that raised the question: Why mention Robin at all if she wasn't sure she could handle talking about him? Something about it felt so... natural. Like it was commonplace to talk about someone you lost like they were still around and might walk right through the door to join you and a friend for coffee. But he wouldn't. Ever.

She recognized that Bridget did the same about Aiden, after a time. She only ever mentioned the good things, Keiran's mum. Avery's mum. Sort of. That was what conversations about him had become. Reminiscing. Like someone had written him down in a book and they'd turned the last page so it was cool to start using the past-tense about him.

For someone so generically happy in the externals, Avery's inner landscape was dreadfully complicated. And something told her that Teddy wouldn't want to know. So that filter that had appeared for over a year seemed to turn itself back on despite Avery herself wishing it wouldn't. She couldn't just drop everything on him unless he asked for it. But at this rate, he'd never know he needed to.
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Re: O-Okay

Post by Teddy R. Lupin on Wed Jan 25, 2017 10:29 pm

Ted had operated out of the Ministry for awhile, the on-call therapist, until they realized the people who really needed it, such as the Aurors and Unspeakables, were going to be the last to admit it. So he supposed it wasn’t surprising that they had never run into each other. Oh, Merlin, he was glad she hadn’t met him back when he was counseling. He was such a mess, so adrift, and yet still required to take on an air of reassured confidence. He wasn’t in great shape now, sure, but he didn’t feel owned by anyone. Like he could actually express who he was.

Anything to do with dragons, however, just didn’t seem to fit her. The fact that she wasn’t directly involved tempered this, but even so, he wouldn’t have pegged her as someone who worked with creatures rather than people. Even though she could get a bit anxious, there was something so genuine about the way she interacted with people – people, of course, being himself and Keiran, since these were the only people he had seen her interact with. But, even so, that anxiety betrayed a certain desire to please and to help.

It was something he understood only too well.

Still, he could see she did care for the work, regardless of how well she felt she fit into the grand scheme of things. She clearly empathized with the dragons, which was more impressive considering they weren’t humans. He found himself pleasantly surprised to see she wanted to get in on the field work itself, and he felt a smile playing at his lips, betraying this intrigue. He really had missed being pleasantly surprised by people.

She was quick to double back, to downplay her thought process and her plans – gee, where had he witnessed that before? His lips buckled into a slight frown, saying, “It doesn’t sound crazy at all! I actually know someone who used to work in the Ministry with dragons.” He supposed bringing up Jack Dyllan wasn’t the best way to provide reassurances against sanity, but she was a guardian after all. She had to be somewhat stable.

He was being made a guardian. Oh, Merlin.

“That’s really amazing – I mean, the job, and the dragon, all of it really,” he said, still relatively thrilled by this turn of expectations. “Where did you manage to get a dragon? What kind is it?” One more question would have probably caused him to fall over in  embarrassment.
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Re: O-Okay

Post by Avery Bishop on Thu Jan 26, 2017 1:37 am

"Sometimes," Avery conceded with a laugh and a self-depricating shake of her head, "I forget that working with magical creatures is actually kind of normal in our world. But most of my friends are still surprised when they remember that I work there."

And they had good reason to be, honestly. Even more so after Robin's disappearance. It had turned into a duty thing, rather than a passion-for-her-job thing. But before that, she had stuck to the one thing that had interested her fully during her years at Durmstrang. She knew better than to explain that fully, though, because she would sound absurdly nostalgic and cliché.

It was odd, though. She kind of wanted to tell him. He didn't know the whole story, and perhaps never would, depending on where conversations and the level of their friendship did or did not go. It was, essentially, a case of Avery imagining that - out of anybody - Teddy might manage to get it. Even though it wasn't fair of her to ask it of him, he just might.

He was kind of smiling at her still, and Avery had to wonder - would she ever get to see the real thing? She refused to believe that she had done so already; it just didn't seem possible. Something about him was still reserved and a part of her couldn't bear it. Through no fault of either of them, something just wasn't working. Not between each other, necessarily, but in themselves. And that sting was only topped by the questions that fell from Teddy's lips.

The poor thing. He had no idea what he'd just done.

The expression on her face - which, of course, had been a positive one - disappeared in a matter of moments. And then she was just staring at him, though in a subdued, sad way. Although her lips parted a little, she closed them back up to swallow roughly as she looked away. Out the window seemed like a safe direction to focus. But it wasn't, really. There wasn't one.

"I said that my friend made fun, but that isn't strictly true. He was Keiran's best mate, but... He was my husband."

A weak attempt at a smile lifted her lips, but it failed. "He owned the dragon, and named him Fergus. Even though I thought it was silly at the time." She did actually laugh a little bit at that. It wasn't a breath later when she felt her shoulders deflate and her mood droop again. "But he's gone, now. And Fergus... is being challenging. It's like he knows I have no clue what I'm doing."

Shaking her head, Avery finally looked back at him. Surprisingly, her eyes were dry. Sad, a bit lonely and broken, but dry. "So I'm going to figure out what he wants, and hope that it helps. Otherwise, I'm not sure what I'll do with him." Realizing she hadn't answered his other question, she added on, "He's a Welsh Green. He was always pretty docile, but I think he's just sad. It's been almost a year and a half, though, so I imagine he's getting sort of impatient for something to change.

"I suppose it would be a safe bet to say you've never spent much time around dragons?"

That seemed like a decent topic change, right? It was vastly more safe than talking about Robin or Fergus. And Merlin forbid he wanted to talk about that rather than his own family. Selfish, yes, but safer. For her, anyway. But perhaps her attempts would save them both from having to talk about any of it.
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Re: O-Okay

Post by Teddy R. Lupin on Thu Jan 26, 2017 5:12 am

It seemed he was not the only one to consider her choice of career surprising, but he was also glad to find out it was her friends who were surprised, glad to be in that number. He had realized a bit belatedly that his surprise might have come off as rude or potentially offensive. He didn't mean to underestimate her at all. He had learned that in the brief moments of bravery he had seen out of her in the time he knew her.

He had just been marvelling at how quickly her smile was conjured, and now he marvelled at how carefully it could melt away. There was a flickering behind her eyes and he felt his eyebrows twitch together in slight confusion, though he smoothed them into a more placid expression, afraid of scaring her off from sharing whatever it was she felt like sharing.

Oh. Right.

Husband.

That word bounced into his head, burrowing deep into his mind and reversing the entire world in that moment. Husband, husband, husband. Why hadn't he noticed a ring? Why hadn't Keiran told him? Wait, why would Keiran tell him? He wasn't sure why Keiran would have told him, especially considering this was coffee. Just coffee. She hadn't implied that it was anything more than coffee.

He. Was. So. Stupid.

The smart, put-together Teddy's running around in his brain put the panic-Teddy's into headlocks and shoved them into submission, trying to get him to actually listen. He was gone now. Not the dragon. The husband.

He wanted desperately to know what had happened, understand why someone would ever leave Avery. Keiran's best mate? Who was that nowadays? Wasn't Avery his best mate? Teddy did have some instincts about people, even if his anxiety often stumbled him up. He had always been pretty instinctual when it came down to people, but he was questioning everything when it came to... coffee. Regardless, he had a sense that it wasn't something to pursue.

He cleared his throat. "I'm sorry to hear Fergus isn't adjusting so well. It's hard to get past it when people leave." Too close, too close, too close. He smiled a bit at her question, his eyes still downcast. He finally lifted them. "Can't say that I have. But I do have a friend, well, colleague, who does. Maybe, if things don't turn around, I could see if she could come out and check him out?" I could come too. I could help. I'd like to help. "I wouldn't mind seeing some dragon training in action."

Was that suntle enough?
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